Can Marvel Finally Introduce Its Strongest Team Now?


Warning: Spoilers for Black Panther: Wakanda ForeverAfter Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Marvel now has everything it needs to introduce the Defenders, the strongest superhero team in Marvel Comics. Via the Netflix series of the same name, a version of the Defenders already has MCU connections. However, there’s no reason why Marvel can’t formally introduce a completely different incarnation of the comic book team.

The long-awaited introduction of Namor the Sub-Mariner in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever sets up a number of interesting possibilities for his future in the MCU. His rich history in Marvel Comics lends Marvel with a variety of directions it can take his character. After all, he has a reputation as a hero, a villain, and an anti-hero in the comic books. He’s also associated with multiple superhero teams, and with many of them having a presence in the MCU, Marvel could eventually align him with them in later movies. But instead of making him an Avenger or an X-Men, Marvel Studios can use Tenoch Huerta’s character to form a comic-accurate adaptation of the Defenders team.

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Black Panther 2’s Namor Completes The MCU’s Defenders Setup

In Marvel Comics, the Defenders originated as a trio of A-list superheroes who came together when the fate of the world was at stake. Introduced in 1971’s Marvel Feature #1, the group consisted of Doctor Strange, Hulk, and Namor. Sometime after their first team-up, the three wound up working together on a regular basis. However, they avoided forming an official team. Calling themselves the Defenders, they described their group as a “ non-team “ who would meet at Doctor Strange’s Sanctum Sanctorum only when necessary. As time passed, more heroes joined the ranks of the Defenders, but Namor, Hulk, and Dr. Strange will always be regarded as “The Big Three” of the team.

Now that Namor exists in the MCU, the groundwork has been laid for the classic trio of heroes to fight on the same side on the big screen. With all three on hand, it’ll be easy for Marvel to recreate the comic team in an unannounced Phase 6 movie. Not only that, but the MCU also has the fourth pillar of the Defenders available as well. In the comic books, Valkyrie was a core character in the original Defenders series, and when looking at the length of her stay on the roster, she’s almost as important as the original three. With no confirmed movies on the horizon for Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie, it could be that a spot on the Defenders’ roster is the future Marvel has planned for her.

How The Defenders Are Stronger Than The MCU’s Other Teams

If Marvel were to assemble the Defenders in the Multiverse Saga, they’d be the strongest out of all the MCU’s superhero teams. Originally, it was thought that this title would belong to the Eternals, but the decision to remove some of their powers resulted in significantly weaker versions of the characters, particularly Gilgamesh. In the end, their only true powerhouses were Sersi and Ikaris, whereas the Defenders boast several. Dr. Strange, Hulk, and Namor are all in the highest tier of power, as is the case with Silver Surfer. He too is counted as a major member of Doctor Strange’s group and someone who could appear in a future MCU movie.

By bringing together Doctor Strange, Hulk, the Sub-Mariner, and
https:/share/3NpzDB Marvel Comics managed to create a team that possesses even more raw power than the Avengers. How much more powerful they are as a team was on display in the early 1970s when Marvel used a four-part crossover to pit them against each other. Nearly all of the one-on-one matches were won by the Defenders due largely to the fact that the team is made up primarily of Marvel Comics heavyweights. The Avengers, on the other hand, are a more balanced team with many of its members being heroes without any actual powers.

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Despite Not Being A Hero, Namor Can Still Join The Defenders

It’s important to note that Namor’s ending in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever doesn’t block the Defenders from forming as early as Phase 6. Considering that Namor told Namora that he still plans on conquering the surface world, the character joining up with the Avengers feels a bit unlikely for the time being, but a stint with the Defenders could still happen. Namor doesn’t need to be a full-fledged superhero to join the Defenders.

As noted above, the Defenders are a “ non-team” who only band together when the need arises. If Marvel keeps the same defining principle of the comic group if and when it adapts the team, Namor could form a similar agreement with Hulk and Strange in the MCU’s future. He’d have no interest in protecting humans, but a threat to the MCU’s Talokan would be another matter. If the planet as a whole is on the line, Namor would be compelled to help them to protect his own people. That wouldn’t be unlike the situation with the comic character, who put aside his disdain for humankind knowing that he needed help to overcome certain challenges.

When The Defenders Could Form & Who Else Could Be On The Team

Perhaps the earliest opportunity for a Defenders team-up in the MCU would be 2025. Marvel has two movies releasing in that year that don’t have release dates yet. If the Defenders are indeed a part of Marvel’s plans for Phase 6, their first team-up could also involve a few other Marvel characters. The most obvious choice would of course be Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie, as her deep ties to the team and presence on Earth make her a prime candidate for a roster spot.

Other potential choices would be Nighthawk, Daredevil, and Silver Surfer. Silver Surfer is a character that could join them eventually, but unless he makes a surprise appearance in Fantastic Four, it may be a while before he shows up. Nighthawk, a multi-millionaire vigilante created in the mold of Batman, was a mainstay of the group. But since he doesn’t exist in the MCU yet, he could be easily traded for a different street-level hero in Daredevil, who could fill that void while also creating at least one tie to the MCU’s first Defenders squad. Depending on what Marvel has on its plate for the Multiverse Saga, some of these characters could be chosen to fight alongside Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’s Namor in a proper Defenders movie.

NEXT: Why Namor’s Talokanils Aren’t Blue Underwater

Originally published at on November 23, 2022.